US House passes abortion rights Bill, expected to fail in Senate

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks to media on the "Women's Health Protection Act" outside the US Capitol, on Sept 24, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US House of Representatives approved legislation on Friday (Sept 24) to protect abortion services against growing Republican-backed state restrictions, including a Texas law that imposes a near-total ban on abortion, but it is unlikely to pass the Senate.

The Democratic-controlled House voted 218-211 largely along party lines to pass the legislation called the Women's Health Protection Act. Just one Democrat voted against the proposal.

The Bill would protect abortion services and pre-empt many of the restrictions that Republicans have passed at the state level, such as those that require ultrasounds or other tests.

It is expected to fail in the evenly divided Senate, where Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans to support it.

Republican Senator Susan Collins, a moderate who supports abortion rights, has said she will vote against it.

But the vote provides an opportunity for Democrats to demonstrate their support for abortion rights ahead of the 2022 congressional elections, which will determine which party controls Congress in the latter half of President Joe Biden's presidential term.

"It is time to trust women, to respect their decisions," Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro said during House debate.

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